On 15th December 2022, the Senate of the Republic of Colombia approved with 50 votes in favour and four against a bill to gradually ban bullfighting. To become a law, it will now need to be passed by the Colombian House of Representatives, which may be more difficult as previous attempts to ban it there have failed.

The purpose of the original Bill 085-22 was to help remedy the regulatory deficit of animal protection and strengthen the culture of animal protection and social responsibility with all living sentient beings, through a gradual ban on bullfighting throughout the Colombian national territory. It is not an outright ban straight away of such spectacles, because initially it only prohibits, “the elements that lacerate, cut, mutilate, wound, burn or hurt animals in any way.” Initially, bullfighters may try to stage what they call “bloodless bullfights” as undertaken in the USA (which are also very cruel to the bulls). But after three years since the enactment of this law (if passed by the House of Representatives without amendments), the actual total ban will take place on all forms of bullfighting (classic bullfights, novilladas, tientas, becerradas, and rejoneo). The original bill included cockfighting and corralejas, but these two cruel spectacles were eventually removed.  

The bill was presented by Senator Andrea Padilla, who said to Infobae, “The bill that gradually prohibits bullfighting, among other cruel shows with cattle in the country, has just been approved. What we have just achieved is historic and we are now going to defend the project in the Fifth Committee of the Chamber, then in the plenary. We are sure that we will achieve it.” 

The bill must go through two more debates in the House of Representatives of the Colombian Congress where, if ratified and with the sanction of the President of the Republic, the gradual prohibition of bullfighting should begin. This process will be resumed in March 2023 with the beginning of the next legislative period. Still a long way to go, but the new president Gustavo Petro is anti-bullfighting, which is a good reason for hope.  

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.